Last week, President Trump reached a deal with Congress to provide a short-term, 3-month budget extension.
Good or bad news for horses? The answer is neither. The final votes to allow or stop slaughter are now delayed until early-December.
This delay does NOT mean we can let up between now and then. The Administration is still pushing for a policy of mass slaughter of America’s wild horses. The appropriations debates in Congress are ongoing. Given the House bill’s inclusion of horse slaughter language, it is absolutely critical that the Senate produce a bill that protects horses from mass killing and slaughter. Then we’ll have a fighting chance of prevailing when the House and Senate negotiate final spending legislation.
The Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee could vote on the Interior spending bill as early as next week.So NOW is the time to contact your Senators to weigh in to protect wild horses and burros!
Tell them to OPPOSE any 2018 spending legislation that would allow for the killing or sale for slaughter of healthy wild horses and burros.
P.S. We’re now also facing the reality of a longer campaign. Our hope is to sustain the same size and intensity of our campaign through the December votes. Your donations are needed to help us do it. Please contribute now.
With Congress going home for its August recess and the legislative future on horse slaughter still unclear, we asked you what our movement should do this month: sit tight OR keep up the pressure. Your response was clear: give them hell. Make it clear the American people will not stand for the destruction or slaughter of America’s wild horses.
So today we’re launching our #NoRecessForHorses Summer of Action. In the next three weeks, we’ll be visiting congressional offices, holding local events, activating supporters, putting up billboards, and, in short, making ourselves very, very loud.
We need every signature we can get. We’ll be hand-delivering the petition to key congressional offices, inviting the press and our local supporters to join.
Our opponents would love nothing more than if this issue stays quiet. They’ve seen the polling — they know 80% of Americans oppose horse slaughter. They want to confuse the issue, rename the word “slaughter” to something else, and hope we sit on the sidelines as they try to pass this terrible, cruel policy.
On July 26, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT) introduced the “Recreation Not Red-Tape Act (RNR)” (S. 1633, H.R. 3400), legislation that expands the scope of the National Forest System Trails Stewardship Act (PL 114-245), signed into law in late 2016. While the RNR focuses on streamlined permitting to access public lands, the bill includes provisions that would authorize the Department of the Interior, through the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), to enter into cooperative agreements with private parties to promote the role of volunteers in trail maintenance. The bill also authorizes the Department of Agriculture (USDA) and BLM to develop an interagency trail management plan that will assure uniform maintenance standards for trails crossing jurisdictional lines between the two agencies.
The Trails Act outlines a detailed program including goals and timetables by which the USDA will leverage private partners to clear trails long overdue for maintenance. Unlike the RNR Act, which applies to both the BLM and USDA’s National Forest System (NFS), the Trails Act focuses only on trails under the jurisdiction of the NFS.
Chairman Bishop and Sen. Wyden worked closely on the bill to emphasize key issues – especially outdoor recreation permit streamlining – that will likely attract bipartisan support. GOP staff with the House Natural Resources Committee, which is the committee of jurisdiction for federal land issues, are encouraging AHC and allies to help drive cosponsors for the legislation, which currently has none. Committee staff also state that the Subcommittee on Federal Lands will conduct a markup in late September or October, giving members the opportunity to offer technical corrections and amendments to the text.
Prior to adjourning for the August recess, the U.S. House of Representatives approved an amendment to the “Make America Secure Appropriations Act” (H.R. 3219) offered by Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY), a bill that will increase equine therapy funding for veterans by $5 million during FY2018. In a statement released Friday, July 28, Congressman Barr expressed his pleasure over passage of the defense spending legislation. He stated that he is “particularly pleased that the final bill … expands the availability of evidence-based equine treatment for veterans who have suffered trauma while serving our country.”
Before the equine therapy provision becomes law, House and Senate lawmakers must convene a “conference” to negotiate final legislation for a vote in both chambers, and present the bill to the President for his signature. Because the House will not return to Washington until September 5, Congress will not be able to negotiate a final bill until the fall. Although the Senate currently plans to remain in session through August 11, their agenda remains uncertain. Following failure of healthcare legislation last week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has identified Federal Drug Administration (FDA) funding, Department of Defense (DOD) authorization legislation, and federal appointments as priorities for the next two weeks. Congress must pass final spending bills, or a continuing resolution, prior to the end of the current fiscal year on September 30.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) recently requested that the 2018 budget lift the ban on destroying healthy mustangs and burros. If the ban is lifted, all horses and burros in holding facilities will be killed or sold for slaughter. And most of the remaining wild horse population will be slaughtered, possibly even through aerial gunning in the wild.
Here’s the bottom line: 92,000 healthy horses will die if this ban is lifted.
It’s time to fight back against this senseless slaughter. Thousands of you have already made your voices heard. Now, we’re launching a new campaign: #NoHorseSlaughter. But we need your help to spread the word.
We’re going to take our message to every member of Congress and make sure they know what’s at stake. We can’t let the BLM undertake an unprecedented mass slaughter of our nation’s healthy wild horses and burros.
Congress is likely to decide the future of our nation’s iconic wild horse population in the next two weeks, which means these next few days will be critical. We’re going to take the fight to them — both in their districts when their on recess and back on Capitol Hill. With your help, we’re going to make sure they know that America is standing up for #NoHorseSlaughter.
The American Horse Council (AHC) National Issues Forum, sponsored by Luitpold Animal Health, on June 12th provided a wealth of information and ideas from different perspectives on how we can grow the industry and continue to work together. Attendees were treated to insights ranging from cutting-edge research to help our equine athletes, to how we can encourage the next generation to get involved, as well as how tradition, continuity, and innovation can work together for the benefit of the industry in moving forward.
The Morning Session kicked off with keynote speaker Roger Dow of the U.S. Travel Association who spoke about several initiatives the travel industry has undertaken the past few years to increase tourism and travel within and to the United States. For example, a Visa Waiver Program that allows residents of allied countries to be pre-screened before entry and are given visa-free travel to the U.S. for up to 90 days. Most notably though, was the creation of a Global Meetings Industry Day that showcases the impact that business meetings, conferences, conventions, incentive travel, trade shows and exhibitions have on people, business and communities.
“Staying focused, finding things you can work on together, and speaking with one voice are critical to ensuring the success and longevity of any industry,” Mr. Dow closed with.
To read the recap of the National Issues Forum in its entirety, please click below.
1) The Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) 2018 budget asks Congress to lift a ban on destroying healthy mustangs and burros.
2) If the ban is lifted, wild horses and burros in holding facilities will be killed or sold to slaughter. The remaining “excess” population will be slaughtered, possibly gunned-down in the wild. Up to 92,000 healthy horses will die.
3) The Congressional markup to decide if this slaughter provision is included will happen in the next two weeks.
If this sounds like the worst-case-scenario for our cause, it is. If Congress accepts the BLM’s budget provision, we would see an unprecedented mass slaughter of healthy horses and burros. It would lead to horses being slaughtered for human consumption. It would destroy our nation’s icons of freedom. It would be a tragedy.
There have been reports this week that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has decided to offer extra H2B visas for temporary, seasonal workers. These visas are used for temporary, non-agriculture workers at a variety of businesses, including members of the horse industry; principally horse trainers and owners who cannot find American workers to fill semi-skilled jobs at racetracks, horse shows, fairs and in similar non-agricultural activities.
The government offers 66,000 such visas a year, with the 2017 cap having been met within the first 30 days of open enrollment. This left many organizations without access to the critical labor pool provided by the H-2B program. Trainers at racetracks around the country have reported difficulties in filling staff positions.
The extra visas will be available to employers that show they’d be significantly harmed if they aren’t able to temporarily hire foreign workers. DHS hasn’t decided how many visas will be offered but that number should be set soon. The department expects to start issuing visas as soon as late July.
If you have any questions, please contact the AHC.
WHAT’S HAPPENING: Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is scheduled to testify before the Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee this Wednesday, June 21. He will defend his Fiscal Year 2018 budget, which asks Congress to lift the ban on destroying healthy wild horses and burros and selling these cherished animals for slaughter.
WHY YOU SHOULD ACT: The Senators on this subcommittee play a key role in determining whether as many as 92,000 wild horses and burros will be slaughtered and their wild populations reduced to near-extinction levels.
WHAT TO SAY: Call your Senator, or subcommittee leadership, if your Senator is not included on the list below. Suggested message: “My name is _____ calling from _____. Please ask Senator _____ to strongly oppose the BLM’s budget request to lift the ban on killing healthy horses and burros and selling these animals ‘without restriction,’ which would lead to the brutal slaughter of thousands. Please require the BLM to use humane birth control, as recommended by the National Academy of Sciences, not killing to manage our wild horses and burros.”
MARYLAND RESIDENTS: Call Senator Chris Van Hollen, 202-224-4654. Follow up by sending a personal message: CLICK HERE.
MONTANA RESIDENTS: Call Senator Jon Tester, 202-224-2644. Follow up by sending a personal message: CLICK HERE.
NEW MEXICO RESIDENTS: Call Senator Tom Udall, 202-224-6621. Follow up by sending a personal message: CLICK HERE.
OREGON RESIDENTS: Call Senator Jeff Merkley, 202-224-3753. Follow up by sending a personal message: CLICK HERE(Choose “share your opinion on bills or other issues”)
RHODE ISLAND RESIDENTS: Call Senator Jack Reed, 202-224-4642. Follow up by sending a personal message: CLICK HERE.
VERMONT RESIDENTS: Call Senator Patrick Leahy, 202-224-4242. Follow up by sending a personal message: CLICK HERE.
RESIDENTS OF ALL OTHER STATES: Call Subcommittee Chair Lisa Murkowski, 202-224-6665 and Ranking Member Tom Udall: 202-224-6621. Even though you are not a constituent, let them know that you are calling because our public lands and our wild horses and burros belong to all Americans, and all Americans should have a say in how they are managed
Remember: Please be polite and respectful in order to be the most effective voice possible for our wild horses and burros! Thank you!!
Tens of thousands of innocent, federally protected wild horses and burros are in danger of being killed or sold for slaughter if Congress approves the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) 2018 budget request. The BLM is asking Congress to lift the ban on destroying healthy mustangs and burros and selling those in holding facilities for slaughter. If Congress approves this request, the mass killing of the 46,000 wild horses and burros in holding facilities and the 46,000 “excess” animals on the range would begin.
We can stop this, but only if your elected representatives in Washington, DC hear from you! Our wild horses and burros don’t have a voice, so we must speak up on their behalf to save them from a horrific fate… It only takes a minute – please take action below – today!
We knew this was coming, and now our worst fears have been realized.
Yesterday, the Trump Administration released its budget request to Congress for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and it literally places the lives of over 90,000 wild horses and burros in jeopardy.
The Administration is asking Congress to lift the ban on killing healthy wild horses and burros or selling them for slaughter. The BLM wants permission to destroy “unadoptable” horses and burros as well as those it considers to be “excess” on the range. If Congress approves this request, the mass killing of the 46,000 wild horses and burros in holding facilities and the 46,000 “excess” animals on the range would begin.
We must make sure Congress stands firm against slaughtering our national icons!
This is going to be an intensive 4-6 month campaign to defeat this lethal budget proposal in Congress.
Right now, we need you to do these three things IMMEDIATELY!
1. Send a strong and unified message to Congress.
2. #JoinTheBand to send a tidal wave of public support for wild horses and burros on social media on May 30.
3. Donate so that we can elevate our grassroots and legislative campaigns to the seismic level necessary to save our national icons!
The fight is on to save our wild horses and burros! We’re ready, but we NEED your help. Let’s protect our wild horses and burros from this Administration’s lethal plans… Take action today!
Eliminating soring in the Tennessee Walking Horse industry has broad support in the horse industry and has been a priority of the American Horse Council (AHC) for the last several years. The focus of these efforts for several years has been passage of the Prevent All Soring Tactics Act or PAST Act in Congress. Additionally, last year the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) also began promulgating new regulations governing enforcement of the Horse Protection Act (HPA), intended to strength regulations against soring. President Trump’s government-wide freeze on all new federal regulations pending review has put an indefinite hold on these new HPA regulations. Now many in the horse industry are wondering what is status of these efforts to eliminate soring.
“The AHC continues to be committed to ending soring in the walking horse industry and believes it will take federal action either by Congress or USDA to end this cruel practice,” said Julie Broadway AHC president. “The ‘big lick’ segment of the walking horse industry has had over 45 years to address this issue and it remains a problem.”
In January of 2017, USDA announced and released a final HPA rule. The AHC believed the final rule would have improved enforcement of the HPA as well as made sure other segments of horse show industry were not unintentionally impacted or burdened by the regulation. However, the final rule was not published in the Federal Register before President Trump issued an order to all federal agencies to withdrawal all regulations that had not yet been published pending review.
“There is no timeline for review of the rule and the new administration could decide to issue a final rule at any time or withdrawal the rule completely. If and when Secretary of Agriculture Nomine Sonny Perdue is confirmed the AHC will be asking him to publish and the final rule,” said Ben Pendergrass AHC, Sr. VP of Policy and Legislative Affairs.
“We do not know yet if the Trump administration will be willing to implement this final rule so it continues to be important for the industry to support the PAST Act, which was recently re-introduced,” continued Pendergrass.
On March 30, 2017, Representatives Ted Yoho (R-FL) and Kurt Schrader (D-OR) re-introduced the PAST Act (HR 1847) in the House of Representatives. The bill is identical to the bill introduced last Congress and continues to be supported by the AHC and most national horse show organizations.
“I am honored to join my fellow veterinarian, Rep. Kurt Schrader, a bipartisan list of members, and organizations who support the end of Horse Soring. As a veterinarian and lover of animals, we must continue to keep pressure on a select group of bad actors in the Walking Horse industry. They must comply with existing law and stop this illegal practice for good,” said Rep. Yoho on re-introducing the bill.
“Horse soring still runs rampant even though laws have been on the books for decades banning this cruel practice,” said Rep. Schrader. “We gave them a chance to self-police but the practice continued. Our bill will strengthen and improve current regulations by improving USDA enforcement, increasing civil and criminal penalties, and banning incentives to sore horses. It’s time for Congress to act and put an end to this abusive practice.”
The PAST act would amend the HPA to prohibit a Tennessee Walking Horse, a Racking Horse, or a Spotted Saddle Horse from being shown, exhibited, or auctioned with an “action device,” or “a weighted shoe, pad, wedge, hoof band or other device or material” if it is constructed to artificially alter the gait of the horse and is not strictly protective or therapeutic.
The legislation would also increase fines and penalties for violations, including the potential for a lifetime ban for repeat offenders and create a new licensing process for horse show inspectors, eliminating the current often criticized designated qualified persons (DQPs) program.
The bill already has already gained 220 co-sponsors, a majority of the House of Representatives. Unfortunately, Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) the principle sponsor of the bill in the Senate lost her bid for reelection. Her loss has delayed re-introduction of the bill in the Senate.
“There continues to be strong challenges to passage of the PAST Act or implementation of the new HPA regulations, but the AHC will continue working until soring is eliminated,” said Broadway. “The AHC urges all members of the horse industry to contact their Representative and Senators to ask them to support the PAST Act and the HPA rule.”
It is no secret that many of the workers on the backstretch at race tracks, on breeding farms and at horse shows are foreign born. Horse industry employers have for many years found it difficult to recruit American workers to fill these jobs. For this reason, American immigration policy has been a major concern of the horse industry and the American Horse Council has worked to ensure the H-2B non-agricultural and H-2A agricultural temporary foreign worker programs are a viable option for the industry. However, new pressures threaten the ability of the horse industry to hire these vital workers.
“The industry has had long-standing problems recruiting workers to fill jobs helping to raise, train, and care for the industry’s horses. This was the case even during the recent recession when unemployment reached 10%,” said AHC Sr. VP, Policy and Legislative Affairs, Ben Pendergrass. “Now that the economy has recovered and unemployment has fallen to around 4.7% finding workers has become especially challenging, this and other factors have made it more vital than ever for Congress to take action to improve the inadequate current guest worker programs.
President Trump has recently issued several executive orders relating to increased immigration enforcement and border security. While these orders do not directly relate to the H-2B or H-2A programs, generally speaking, increased enforcement, increased competition for legal workers and greater demand for H-2B and H-2A workers will make it more difficult for horse industry employers to fill many positions.
Already, the cap for H-2B visas for the first half of the fiscal year was reached in record time on January 10th. There is a statutory cap on the total number of H-2B visas issued each year. Currently, Congress has set the H-2B cap at 66,000 per fiscal year, with 33,000 for workers who begin employment in the first half of the fiscal year (October 1 – March 31) and 33,000 for workers who begin employment in the second half of the fiscal year (April 1 – September 30).
Because the cap has already been reached, for many employers that means no H-2B workers will be available if they are needed in 2017. There is no cap on the H-2A agricultural visa program, but those workers can only be employed by horse breeding farms and cannot be utilized by trainers at race tracks or horse shows.
“The industry would like to see comprehensive immigration reform eventual, but the most immediate need is for H-2B cap relief,” continued Pendergrass. “We have been urging Congress to reinstate the so-called ‘H-2B returning worker exemption’ in the Continuing Resolution that will need to be passed at the end of April to keep the government from shutting down. Everyone in the racing or showing segments of the industry really should be contacting their elected officials and urging them to take action.”
The “returning worker exemption” exempts from the 66,000 cap on H-2B visas, workers who had complied with past visa requirements and worked in the program during one of the preceding three years. It was in place for part of 2015 and 2016 and helped ensure the horse industry and other seasonal small businesses had access to needed H-2B workers.
Besides taking this immediate action the AHC believes Congress should pass broader reform legislation like the Save our Small and Seasonal Businesses Act of 2017 (S. 792), introduced recently by Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC), Angus King (I-ME), Susan Collins (R-ME), John Thune (R-SD), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Roy Blunt (R-MO), John Cornyn (R-TX), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and Mark Warner (D-VA). This is a bipartisan proposal and represents the most comprehensive reform measure for the H-2B program.
Additionally, in the House of Representatives the Strengthen Employment and Seasonal Opportunities Now (SEASON) Act, (HR 2004), has been introduced by Representatives Steve Chabot (R-OH), Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), Bob Gibbs (R-OH), Dr. Andy Harris (R-MD), Kevin Yoder (R-KS) Billy Long (R-MO), and Judiciary Chair Bob Goodlatte of Virginia. The SEASON Act is a fairly broad authorization bill that will reform how the H-2B program would work including addressing regulatory oversight simplification.
“The AHC is continually educating Members of Congress about how this issue is impacting the horse industry, but they also need to hear firsthand from their constituents about their experiences,” said AHC President Julie Broadway. “We urge all members of the racing and showing segments of the industry to contact their elected officials. The AHC is always here to help facilitate communication and answer any questions have about contacting Congress.”
The UHC welcomes two new members, the Retired Racehorse Project and Palmetto Carriage Works. Each will be featured in future editions of the UHC Roundup. Member organizations help make programmatic decisions in the areas of education, programs, funding, and visibility.
On March 30, 2017, Representatives Ted Yoho (R-FL) and Kurt Schrader (D-OR) re- introduced the Prevent All Soring Tactics Act of 2015 (HR 1847) (PAST act) in the House of Representatives. The bill is intended to strengthen the Horse Protection Act (HPA) and prevent the soring of Tennessee Walking Horses, Racking Horses, and Spotted Saddle Horses. The bill is identical to the bill introduced last Congress and is supported by the American Horse Council and most national horse show organizations.
Soring is an abusive practice used by some to train Tennessee Walking Horses, Spotted Saddle Horses, and Racking Horses. It usually involves the use of action devices, chemicals, pads, wedges or other practices to cause pain in the horse’s forelegs and produce an accentuated show gait for competition. Despite the existence of a federal ban on soring for over forty years, this cruel practice continues in some segments of the walking horse industry.
The PAST act would amend the HPA to prohibit a Tennessee Walking Horse, a Racking Horse, or a Spotted Saddle Horse from being shown, exhibited, or auctioned with an “action device,” or “a weighted shoe, pad, wedge, hoof band or other device or material” if it is constructed to artificially alter the gait of the horse and is not strictly protective or therapeutic. These new prohibitions would not apply to other breeds that do not have a history of soring.
The legislation would also increase fines and penalties for violations, including the potential for a lifetime ban for repeat offenders.
The bill would create a new licensing process for horse show inspectors, eliminating the current often criticized designated qualified persons (DQPs) program. The bill would require the U.S. Department of Agriculture to train, license and appoint new independent inspectors for shows and other HPA-regulated activities that wish to hire an inspector. Licensed or accredited veterinarians would be given preference for these positions. The decision to hire and cost of an inspector would still reside with the management of a show, sale or auction.
Many national horse show organizations have endorsed the PAST Act including;
The American Horse Council
The American Quarter Horse Association
The American Association of Equine Practitioners
The American Paint Horse Association
The U.S. Equestrian Federation
The American Morgan Horse Association
The Pinto Horse Association of America
The Arabian Horse Association
The American Saddlebred Horse Association
The United Professional Horsemen’s Association
The Appaloosa Horse Club
Many state and local horse organizations also support the bill. The bill has broad bipartisan support and already has over 208 co-sponsors.
Various efforts have been made since enactment of the HPA forty years ago to stop the soring of horses and they have not worked. This bill is focused on the problem it is intended to solve and does not adversely affect other segments of the show industry that are not soring horses and have no history of soring horses.
The AHC supports the bill and urges all members of the horse industry to contact their Representative and ask them to support the bill and become a co-sponsor.
On March 30, 2017 Congressman Andy Barr (R-KY) re-introduced the Race Horse Cost Recovery Act (H.R. 1804) and theEquine Tax Parity Act (H.R. 1805) . The Race Horse Cost Recovery Act would permanently place all race horses in the three-year category for tax depreciation purposes. A 2008 provision that temporarily put race horses in the three year category expired at the end of 2016. The Equine Tax Parity Act would make horses eligible for capital gains treatment after 12 months, rather than 24, similar to other business assets. The American Horse Council supports both of these bills.
Congressman Barr also introduced the Race Horse Expensing Certainty Act (H.R. 1806), the bill would provide extra clarity that racehorses are eligible for the Section 179 business expense deduction. All horses purchased and placed in service by a business are currently eligible for the Section 179 deduction and the bill would not change this.
The 2008 Farm Bill included language that allowed all race horses to be depreciated over three years, regardless of their age when placed in service. Prior to then, race horses were depreciated over seven years if placed in service before they turned two. Horses placed in service after two (24 months from foaling date), could be depreciated over three years. A horse is generally deemed to be placed in service when it begins training, which is usually at the end of its yearling year. This change to the tax code was extended several times, but expired at the end of 2016. The Race Horse Cost Recovery Act would permanently make all race horses eligible for three year depreciation.
Depreciation is a means of recovering the cost of property, including horses, used in a business through deductions of portions of the horse’s cost over a period of years. Generally, the recovery period approximates the estimated useful life or economic life of the property. The horse industry believes a three year deprecation schedule more accurately reflects the actual time a horse will be raced and a seven year deprecation period unfairly penalizes the horse industry.
Permanently placing all race horses in the three year depreciation category would be of great benefit to the horse industry and is supported by the AHC.
Equine Tax Parity Act
The Equine Tax Parity Act (H.R. 3672) would make horses eligible for capital gains treatment after 12 months, rather than 24, similar to other business assets.
Under the current federal tax code, gains from sales by individuals of property used in a trade or business, including horses, qualify for long-term capital gains and are subject to the maximum capital gains tax rate of 15% for taxpayers earning less than $450,000 or 20% for those earning more. Since the individual income tax rate can go as high as 39.6%, the lower rate is a real advantage.
Horses held for breeding, racing, showing or draft purposes qualify for the capital gains rates only if they are held for 24 months. All other business assets (except cattle) qualify if held for 12 months.
The Equine Tax Parity Act would end this discriminatory treatment of horses under the tax code and allow horse owners to enjoy the reduced rate upon sale after holding a horse for 12 months. For most owners and breeders shortening the capital gains holding period to 12 months should be a benefit. Reducing the holding period by half would give many horse owners and breeders more flexibility to sell and market their horses. It would mean that every sale of a horse which is held for at least 12 months will qualify as a capital gain or loss unless that horse is held primarily for sale. The AHC supports this bill.
The Race Horse Expensing Certainty Act
The Section 179 business expense deduction allows any business, including any horse business, to immediately depreciate up to $500,000 of the cost of any investment in business assets, including horses. The deduction is reduced dollar-for-dollar once investment in all one’s business activities hit $2 million. The bill would provide extra clarity that racehorses are eligible for the Section 179 business expense deduction.
Today, the AHC submitted comments in support of an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) proposed rule regarding withholding requirements on pari-mutuel winnings. The proposed rule would make changes to withholding requirements that more accurately reflect
the current state of wagering in the horse racing industry. The rule, if made final, will be of great benefit to horse players and the racing industry.
Specifically, the proposed rule would define “amount of the wager” as the total amount wagered by a bettor into a specific pari-mutuel pool on a single ticket for purposes of determining whether wagering proceeds are subject to 25% withholding on winnings of $5,000 or more and are at least 300 times as large as the amount wagered.
Currently, the IRS does not recognize the total amount wagered on an exotic bet with “boxes,” “wheels,” and “keys,” when determining whether the 300:1 ratio has been met and 25% withholding is triggered, only the cost of the individual winning bet. This greatly increases the number of winning bets that are subject to withholding and does not accurately reflect the actual amount bet and the actual amount won. An example of how the current withholding requirements work and how they would work under the proposed rule can be found here: Example Under Current IRS Regulations.
In its comments, the AHC stated the current rules were written before “exotic bets” existed and do not accurately take into account the total amount wagered in many instances and the proposed changes will fix this issue. The AHC expressed its strong support for the proposed regulations and urged the IRS to finalize the rule as soon as is practical.
Terrified wild horses stampeded by helicopters into trap pens. An innocent mare and foal chased relentlessly by the helicopter before being trapped and separated forever. The tiny foal now confined in a muddy BLM pen, never to see his mother again.
The BLM helicopters are taking a break right now for foaling season (March-June), but we aren’t.
AWC is fighting initiatives in states like Utah that want to “harvest” wild horses as “protein resources” by slaughtering them, challenging — and defeating — rancher-led lawsuits seeking the removal of tens of thousands of wild horses and burros from western public lands, and lobbying on Capitol Hill to block efforts to kill the 46,000 wild horses and burros in holding facilities either directly by lifting the slaughter ban, or through the back door, by transferring captured animals to state and local agencies.
Are you with us?
I just returned from Washington, and I cannot stress to you enough how important this work is. Both lawmakers and agency officials know that the public will not stand for the slaughter of our national icons. It’s clear that we, collectively, are the line that stands between our wild horses and burros and mass roundups and slaughter.
This Congress and Administration will make decisions in the coming months that will determine the future for wild horses and burros for decades to come. Can we count on you to sustain this fight at this very critical time?
Thank you — we could not do this work without you!
Registration is now open for the AHC’s 2017 Annual Meeting and National Issues Forum. Registration information, along with a tentative schedule and link to make room reservations is available on the AHC website Events tab . New this year, the AHC is offering discounted registration for those who register before April 15th!
The theme of the National Issues Forum, sponsored by Luitpold Animal Health, will be “The Power of Unity,” and will feature keynote speaker Roger Dow of the U.S. Travel Association. The Issues Forum will feature two panels: a Research Panel and a Youth Panel.
The Research Panel will be moderated by Allyn Mann of Luitpold Animal Health and will feature researchers from AQHA, AAEP, Grayson Jockey, Horses & Humans, and Colorado State University. The panel will focus on why research is important to our industry, and some of the research they have recently completed that is transforming the industry.
The Youth Leader Panel will be moderated by Julie Broadway & Dannette McGuire of the American Youth Horse Council and will include youth leaders from Arabian Horse Youth Association, Harness Horse Youth Foundation, US Pony Club, AMHA and AQHA. They will focus on what their respective organizations are doing to engage youth and give attendees some insight as to what the industry should be doing in order to remain relevant to the younger generation.
The AHC will also provide an overview of its new Strategic Plan, and Tom Zitt of the Innovation Group will give attendees an update on the progress of the 2017 Economic Impact Study. Two members of Congress have also been invited to speak on why the horse industry means so much to them and what we can do to ensure it remains successful and thriving. Finally, in a new part to the Issues Forum, breakout group discussions will take place at the end of the presentations with various topics being discussed.
The AHC’s Annual Meeting and National Issues Forum is the only meeting where every single segment of the equine industry meets! We hope you will take advantage of the discounted registration if you register before April 15th.
Recently, President Trump issued several executive orders relating to increased immigration enforcement and border security. These actions will impact many employers, including those in the racing and showing segments of the horse industry, even those that rely on legal foreign workers.
For many years horse farms, horse shows, trainers and others have had difficulty recruiting American workers. This has forced many to rely on foreign workers and utilize both the H-2B non-agricultural and H-2A agricultural temporary foreign worker programs to meet their labor needs even though these programs are often extremely burdensome to use. Additionally, many of the workers employed in the industry may lack legal status.
Most foreign workers in the industry are directly responsible for the care of the horses upon which the entire horse industry is dependent. Without these workers to raise, train, and care for the industry’s horses, many other jobs held by Americans not only in the horse industry, but also supported by the horse industry will be in jeopardy.
Generally speaking, increased enforcement, increased competition for legal workers and greater demand for H-2B and H-2A workers will make it more difficult for horse industry employers to fill many positions.